January 30, 2009

Yanks Rotation '09

When's the last time the Yankees have had a better rotation than that?

Photos from MLB.com

Yankees done signing big FA's, by rule

The Yankees can no longer sign any more big free agents this offseason. They have reached their quota of three type A or B free agents.  

"If there are from 39 to 62 [Type A and B] players [during a given offseason], no team can sign more than three." - Barry Bloom of MLB.com reports

However, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira are not the only type A or B players they have signed.  By rule, any re-signed player does not count towards filling a teams' offseason quota.  This is why we were able to bring back Andy Pettitte and Damaso Marte.

The only somewhat-big move you might see out of the Yanks is a trade of Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady.  Like I've said though, I'd rather keep both.

January 28, 2009

Johnny, Nady, Melky selected to start by fans

In my most recent poll, I asked who would start in the outfield on opening day for the '09 season.

Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady are the clear frontrunners to start in left and right field, respectively.  Melky Cabrera edged out Hideki Matsui for the final starting role, only by a couple of votes though.

Johnny Damon:  17/21
Xavier Nady:  16/21
Melky Cabrera:  10/21
Hideki Matsui:  8/21
Brett Gardner:  7/21
Nick Swisher:  7/21
Austin Jackson:  2/21

If my poll holds true, that leaves Matsui and Swisher in a battle for the DH spot.  Gardner will probably end up a late inning pinch runner/defensive replacement.  Jackson will hopefully find an opportunity to play sooner rather than later - he's a stud!

My next poll is a toughy so I'm allowing a week and a half to vote.

January 26, 2009

Oh so slow Cano

Robinson Cano is known for his cold starts, and his hot summers .  A career .280 hitter in the first half compared to a sizzling .327 second half average.  What we don't know is why he struggles so much in the beginning, and what adjustments does he make when summer time rolls around?

To answer the first question, his offseason preparation has been questioned by the Yankee front office in the past.  Cano has responded by participating in winter ball and by hiring a personal trainer this offseason.  The idea of him getting so many swings in the offseason, and hopefully even more to come during the World Baseball Classic seems like a good thing for Cano - giving him time to make appropriate adjustments.

For the second question, I believe Cano has so much desire to succeed that when he sees himself struggling, he puts things into overdrive.  Getting extra swings in with hitting coach Kevin Long, studying video, and most importantly, hitting the ball to left and center field.

When I see Cano struggling, he tries to hook a lot of outside pitches down the right field line, but instead he ends up hitting a lazy ground ball right at the second basemen.  When he's on fire, he's going with the pitch, hitting line drives to the left-center field gap, or hard singles up the middle.

Hopefully Cano can use all of his preseason at bats to work out any early flaws and start hitting like an all-star in April.

Photo from SI.com

January 24, 2009

Pettitte, Yanks continue talking

The front-runner for the fifth spot in the rotation is Andy Pettitte, who has continued to talk with the Yankees all winter.  The Yankees have offered Pettitte a one-year, $10.5 million deal, but the lefty does not want to take a pay cut.  His 2008 salary was $16 million.

This may seem like a continuation to my previous post about Pettite, but I have really had it with Pettitte now.  This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard out of Pettitte.  This is a guy who has admitted to taking HGH.  He is known for his character, and now he won't accept over $10 million a year?  

"The veteral left-hander said repeatedly last year that he wanted to be in uniform when the Yankees officially complete their move across the street to the new Yankee Stadium, and has said that he does not see himself pitching in another uniform." - MLB.com's Bryan Hoch

Now I know why Pettitte keeps on saying he wants to stay in pinstripes.  If he tried to sign with another team, he wouldn't even be offered $5 million per year.  The Yankees are the only team that will give him seven figures.

I always have thought of Pettitte as one who wouldn't care about the money.  Now I don't even think his number is worth retiring in monument park.

Whenever I hear of players asking for rediculous contracts, I always think of Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.  One of the only players I know who would take less money than the team offered him to allow the team to pursue other free agents.

Andy, may I please ask you: when did you lose all of that class that you had? 

January 21, 2009

Rosenthal reports: Sheets, Cruz

Free agents Ben Sheets and Juan Cruz are still available (both type A), and Ken Rosenthal says, "the Yankees aren't done."

If you didn't catch how good these guys did in the National League last year, here's how they did:

Ben Sheets (SP) - Brewers:  13-9, 3.09 era, 158 SO, 1.15 WHIP, in 198.3 innings pitched

Juan Cruz (RP) - D'Backs:  4-0, 2.61 era, 71 SO, 1.26 WHIP, in 51.7 innings pitched

The only thing wrong with Sheets is his durability.  Last season, Sheets started more than 30 games for the first time since 2004.  

Cruz has had no major injuries in his career, and is one of the top set-up men in the game today.

Both pitchers are 30 years old, and would be great answers to the most recent moves made by the Red Sox (Smoltz, Penny, Saito).

Yanks win AL East! - according to fans

For my first poll ever on this blog, I asked my fans to vote on who would win the AL East in 2009.  Here are the results:

Yankees: 52.6%
Red Sox: 31.6%
Rays:  15.8%

I will admit this poll had the Yankees favored from the get-go, considering it is a Yankees blog.  Still, more than half the vote.  Well-done Yankee fans!

Make sure to vote for the Yankees opening day outfield in my next poll on the sidebar!

January 20, 2009

Yanks keep Nady, for now

Xavier Nady (right) agreed to a one-year $6.55 million contract with the Yankees today, avoiding arbitration.

This does not necessarily mean Nady will be with us for '09, but at least they were able to come to terms without an arbitrator.

Photo from MLB.com

January 19, 2009

Posada, Cashman disagree on WBC

One of Jorge Posada's dreams is to wear the Puerto Rico uniform on the World Baseball Classic according to Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch.

Posada's father, Jorge Sr., told The Associated Press that his son has already signed a participation agreement for the Classic.

"He feels fine and wants to play for Puerto Rico," Posada Sr. reportedly said.

GM Brian Cashman said that Posada "is currently rehabbing from surgery, and would not be ready [for the WBC]."  These two parties are not on the same side here, and need to be.

Posada shows a lot of pride for Puerto Rico here, but where is the love for his pinstripes?  Any starting catcher for a competitive team, MUST participate for all of spring training.  Especially one who is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery, and is working with two new guys in the rotation (Sabathia & Burnett).  

Posada averaged 136 games per year from 1998-2007.  He played in just 51 last year, making his shoulder a huge concern of mine.  If Posada insists that he MUST play for Puerto Rico, it better be as a designated hitter - not as a catcher.

From a broader perspective, why does the USA feel the need to compete if the WBC is held right in the middle of spring training?  Hoch should have asked Posada if he wanted to be a WBC champ or an MLB champ.  I can barely remember that Japan took the first WBC in 2006, while I distinctly remember Albert Pujols and the Cardinals winning the World Series.

Hopefully Cashman can regain some control of his rehabbing all-star catcher.


Jorge Posada, who had expressed interest in playing for Team Puerto Rico, was not listed on the club's provisional roster as he recovers from right shoulder surgery.

 That's a good sign.  Also, the Yankees do in fact have the right to block Posada from playing in the WBC, since he ended last year on the DL.  – thank Fletch for that rule

Joba needs to stay put in the rotation in '09

The Yankees have not handled Joba very well up to this point.  Firstly, his rookie season, he has to immediately convert to a one-inning pitcher after going 9-2 in the Yankees farm system as a starter.  He flat out dominated, just one earned run in 24 inninigs pitched, and an absurd 0.75 WHIP.  Then after staying in the pen for the first part of '08, he has to convert back to a starter.  Changing from a reliever to a starter is harder than it sounds.  Joba even had to add a whole new pitch to his arsenal (curveball).  

The only weakness he had starting was his pitch count kept running up too high and too soon in the game.  Notice: his pitches per inning average hardly changed converting from a reliever to a starter.  

As a reliever, you can afford to waste pitches to get a batter out, you cannot do that as much when starting - especially when you aren't used to throwing more than 20 pitched in a day, like Joba.

Let's face it, Joba's got the stuff to fit in either in the pen or in the rotation.  He is sporting a 1.53 career era from the pen, and a 2.76 career era as a starter.  Now, what is more valuable to a team?  An 8th inning pitcher?  Or a guy who's gonna give you six to seven strong innings every fifth day?

If the Yanks keep him in the rotation for all of '09, then he will be less prone to injury and will probably be the best #4 starter in all of baseball.


Why Manny, why?

I have recently heard multiple sources say that the Yankees are still one of the top destinations for Manny Ramirez.  Why?  

The Yankees already have Damon, Gardner, Melky, Nady, and Swisher in the outfield(assuming Matsui's knees stay the way they are).

If the Yanks signed Manny, we'd have to reshape our entire roster: trading at least one of our spare outfielders.  Not to mention, Scott Boras would probably ask for the most outrageous contract in the history of sports from of the Yankees (knowing the Steinbrenner's are on our side).

Another important reason to avoid Manny is his age.  He turns 37 at the end of May, and the Yanks have been looking to get younger for the past couple of years.  Getting rid of Melky or Gardner would not help the cause.  

I am happy with our current team.  Cashman did a great job of addressing our biggest offseason needs (SP and 1B), and I am definitely looking forward to the AL East race this year.

Although I've always been a fan of Manny's antics, plus he did grow up in the Bronx, it is just too late in his career for him to dawn pinstripes. 

January 17, 2009

Pettitte not thinking?

The Yanks offered Pettitte a 1 year 10-mil contract, and he denied it.  Looking at Pettitte's numbers from 2008 (14-14 4.54 era), you would think he would immediately accept the Yankees offer. 

Pettitte is just 36 years old until June, but he has been debating retirement for the past few years.  I have not heard any demands out of him this offseason, but if he's going to reject an offer like the yankees', you have to assume he's looking for a multi-year contract. 

The way I see it, Pettitte is only interested in finishing his career with the Yankees, so he should end up working out a deal with Cashman.  Although his record doesn't look so great, he did have 18 quality starts, which is usually something the Yankees offense can handle.  

Pettitte signing with the yankees would solidify their rotation and put them on a position to compete with any team.

I want him to sign with the Yanks because that will give the Yanks' young guns to get some more experience in the minors or possibly a long relief role in the bullpen.  

Another reason he should sign is to build his resumé for the hall of fame.  He only has 216 career wins and a 3.89 era.  If the Yankees finally give in and offer him a mult-year contrract, Pettitte should sign immediately.

January 14, 2009

Yanks extend 20 invitations to spring training

Four pitchers, five catchers, seven infielders, and four outfielders make up the 20 non-roster invitees. Add these to the 40-man roster and you can expect 60 to show up for spring training this year.  

I wish I were in Tampa for this year's spring training so I could see some of the best Yankee prospects: Austin Jackson (OF), Mark Melancon (RP), and Jesus Montero (C). The non-roster invitees with the best chance of making the parent club right out of spring training are Angel Berroa (IF), Jason Johnson (SP), Kevin Cash (C), and John Rodriguez (OF).  

I am most excited about Austin Jackson. I would not be surprised if he turned some heads this spring. I saw him play for the Trenton Thunder last July, and he was easily the most intimidating and best hitter on the team. He is the future starting center fielder for the Yankees and will definitely make his Yankee debut this season.

January 13, 2009

Hall honors Henderson, Rice

Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were welcomed into the Hall of Fame today. Henderson was a sure fit for the hall, receiving 94.8% of the votes - his first time on the ballot. On the other hand, Rice squeaked in with 76.4% - his last time on the ballot.

I understand Rice's case for the hall, but only if they include Andre Dawson too. Dawson hit 56 more homers and had 140 more runs batted in than Rice. You might say that Dawson also played five more years than Rice, but in my opinion, that is another positive for Dawson! Longevity was one of Rice's weaknesses, and led to his retirement. Dawson also had speed and defense elements in his game (318 stolen bases and 8 Gold Gloves) - elements that Rice lacked. The bright side is that Dawson was next on the list of top vote-getters securing 67%, and still potentially has nine more years on the ballot.

Unfortunately for our remaining Yankees on the ballot, Tommy John (31.7%) and Don Mattingly (11.9%) failed to earn the HoF status from the voters yet again.

January 11, 2009

Nady or Nick?

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe believes Xavier Nady could wind up with the Angels, Giants, or Mets.

The Yanks currently have Nady slated to start in right next year.  Getting rid of Nady for a 5th starter candidate is a pretty good move in my opinion. 

Nady batted a career high .330 with the Pirates last year in 89 games, while posting a less-than-spectacular .268 average with the Yanks in 59 games.  Lets face it, the NL Central is a little easier to hit in compared to the stacked AL East.

Without Nady, that opens up a spot in right field for Nick Swisher.  Last year, Swisher hit a career low .219 with the White Sox, but was t-8th in the AL in walks with 82 and has put up 20 or more homers four years running.  I would be more than happy with him filling the 7th or 8th slot in the everyday lineup.

I also like the idea of getting a proven starter in return to put pressure on youngsters like Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, and Ian Kennedy vying for the 5th spot in the rotation.

Photos from MLB.com

Contact Information

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me by any method. I am always welcome to any criticism.

January 10, 2009

A New Yankees Blog!

I am a recent Quinnipiac University journalism graduate and have been a Yankee fanatic my entire life. Since this is my first post, I want to tell you what to expect from me in this blog. I will present you with the latest information on the Yankees as well as other important baseball news with my analysis.

Now that you know what to expect from me, here is a little background info about yours truly:

My earliest Yankee memory was Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the 1996 World Series. Not a bad first memory eh? I was just six years old with so much to learn...

I was born and raised in Hanover, NH (95% Red Sox fans). Luckily, my parents grew up in New Jersey and brought me up as a Yankee fan. I've had to endure the hatred of the Yankees in Hanover my whole life, as well as only having access to the Red Sox on TV.

As much as I hate putting up with these Sox fans, I've unknowingly gained a profound knowledge of both the Yanks and the Sox. Living in Red Sox Nation has given me a unique perspective -certifying my loyalty to the Yankees- and has led me to the creation of this blog.

Thank you for reading,

-Lenny Neslin

P.S. - if anyone has ideas for improving this blog or wants to discuss something that I have not mentioned, feel free to give me a shout here!

Greetings Yankee fans.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP